Book Study: James, Part V

“My brothers, as believers in our glorious Lord Jesus Christ, don’t show favoritism. Suppose a man comes into your meeting wearing a gold ring and fine clothes, and a poor man in shabby clothes also comes in.  If you show special attention to the man wearing fine clothes and say, ‘Here’s a good seat for you,’ but to the poor man say ‘You stand there,’ or  ‘Sit on the floor at my feet,’ have you not discriminated among yourselves and become judges with evil thoughts?”  James 2:1- 4

Have you ever shown favoritism based on someone else’s appearance?  Have you ever done it unconsciously and later realized it?

In our western culture, where physical appearances  are overemphasized, it is too easy to allow ourselves to become captivated by them.  Captivated, or enslaved, to them.

But looks can be, and generally are deceiving!  The well-dressed gentleman in the pew ahead of you may be truly lost spiritually, while the sloppily dressed young adult several pews back may have a very deep, and very real relationship with Jesus.

I once read a parenting book that suggested dressing children well when traveling, because others surrounding them will be more indulgent and understanding if they misbehave.  When I was diagnosed with cancer and attended a t second opinion clinic to speak with nine specialists about my case, it was recommended I dress up, so I was taken seriously.

It is both amazing and sad to me, that our appearance can evoke such strong responses from people.

Maybe we have a hard time seeing past the scowl or an “all-business’ attitude. But under all that, we are each the same: a human being created in God’s image and dearly loved by Him; but all searching for something or someone to worship.

We are reminded that “showing favoritism actually has a much uglier name: discrimination.

I would truly hate for Jesus to read that charge to me someday on Judgement Day.

Let’s each follow the golden rule: Love our neighbor as ourselves.  We need to treat each other as part of God’s family, because we all are!

Reflections:

1) Pray, asking God to reveal where I have made mistakes in sowing favoritism, where I have been discriminating.

2) Identify the situations which evoke favoritism in me.

3) Pray and then brainstorm how I can avoid repeating those mistake.

4) Identify others I need to forgive for judging me.

5) Forgive those whom  I feel have discriminated against me.

Thank you so much for reading!  Please return by Monday, October 1, for the next post!

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